Wednesday, July 28th 2021

Today's Reviews

Redragon K552-R Kumara Keyboard Review

Redragon K552-R Kumara Keyboard Review

What happens when you combine a minimalist design, gaming keyboard features, TKL form factor, and great price? You end up with the Redragon K552 Kumara, a budget-prioritizing keyboard that aims to replace your OEM keyboard at not much more in cost, but way more in functionality and customization.
BLUETTI AC200P 2000 Wh Portable Power Station/UPS Review

BLUETTI AC200P 2000 Wh Portable Power Station/UPS Review

What if I told you you could buy a portable UPS that offers pure sine wave AC output and can give you over an hour of juice for your gaming PC? This is just one of the many features aboard the BLUETTI AC200P portable power station, which crams in multiple charging inputs and outputs to interest many a home owner too.

Durabook Introduces New Advanced Z14I Fully-Rugged Laptop

Durabook, the global rugged mobile solutions brand owned by Twinhead International Corporation, announced today the introduction of its dramatically upgraded Z14I fully-rugged laptop. The unit includes a slew of remarkable features, including an 11th Gen. Intel Core processor, latest Thunderbolt 4, NVMe PCIe SSD drive, 14" FHD 1,000 nits display with proprietary DynaVue sunlight-readable technology, fanless and hot-swappable battery design, MIL-STD-810H and MIL-STD-461G certifications, and ANSI/ISA 12.12.01-2000, CI/D2 classification. In addition, the newly upgraded Z14I delivers 1.6x faster CPU performance than its predecessor. When combined, its feature package makes the Durabook Z14I the world's toughest fully-rugged laptop.

"Our new advanced Z14I laptop goes above and beyond the standard requirements to elevate the user experience," stated Twinhead CEO Fred Kao. "This fully rugged laptop solution with its endless customization capability through its unique expansion box design fits perfectly in professional services and military/government applications such as mapping/dispatching, recording systems, CAD, assets management, and maintenance diagnostics. Additionally, as strong as they come, the unit is the best laptop in the market for outdoor usage."

JEDEC Publishes the New LPDDR5X Memory Standard

JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, the global leader in standards development for the microelectronics industry, today announced the publication of JESD209-5B, Low Power Double Data Rate 5 (LPDDR5). JESD209-5B includes both an update to the LPDDR5 standard that is focused on improving performance, power and flexibility, and a new LPDDR5X standard, which is an optional extension to LPDDR5.

Taken together, LPDDR5 and LPDDR5X are designed to significantly boost memory speed and efficiency for a variety of uses including mobile devices, such as 5G smartphones and artificial intelligence (AI) applications. Developed by JEDEC's JC-42.6 Subcommittee for Low Power Memories, JESD209-5B is available for download from the JEDEC website.

KIOXIA Announces Exceria PRO and Exceria G2 Series Client M.2 NVMe SSDs

Kioxia Corporation, a world leader in memory solutions, today announced two new solid state drive (SSD) series scheduled to be released in the fourth quarter of 2021. The EXCERIA PRO and EXCERIA G2 Series are the company's latest consumer-grade solutions for today's hardcore enthusiasts and mainstream DIY system builders. Kioxia's new SSDs, which are products under development, will be on reference exhibit at the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference (ChinaJoy) in Shanghai from July 30th to August 2nd.

Using the next generation PCIe Gen4 x4 interface, the EXCERIA PRO Series is built for demanding PC environments. This brand new series will offer more than 2x the max sequential read speeds of the PCIe Gen3 based EXCERIA PLUS Series, delivering a high performance storage experience for content creators, gamers and professionals.

ADATA Launches Industrial-Grade 112-layer BiCS5 3D NAND SSDs

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of industrial-grade DRAM modules, and NAND Flash products, today announces the launch of a new generation of 112-layer stacked BiCS5 3D NAND SSDs with higher capacities and a major leap forward in performance. They are geared toward assisting the development of 5G, IoT, AI, Netcom, server, and other applications.

According to a GSA report, 169 operators in 70 countries are providing 5G services as of May 2021, and applications such as smart logistics, tele-medicine, autonomous driving, and security monitoring will flourish as 5G becomes more mature. In light of this, advanced 3D NAND technology is critical to offering durable, reliable, stable, and efficient storage products to handle the processing of larger volumes of data at higher speeds. Therefore, ADATA has focused on the development of a new generation of BiCS5 series industrial-grade SSDs. It is expected to start sample deliveries in September and begin mass production in Q4 2021.

Intel Alder Lake-S to See Limited Launch of Enthusiast SKUs on 2021, Other Models Arrive 2022

Intel's 12th Generation Core "Alder Lake-S" desktop processor will see a limited launch in 2021, according to an Igor's Lab report. This will be restricted to PC enthusiast-relevant SKUs bearing the -K and -KF brand extensions, and compatible Socket LGA1700 motherboards based only on the top Z690 (Z590-successor) chipset. The series will ramp up to other (locked) models, along with more affordable chipset models (B560-successor), only by Q1-2022, on the sidelines of the 2022 International CES.

Intel is expected to make several technological leaps over AMD with "Alder Lake-S." To begin with, it has the first hybrid core technology that combines high-performance "Golden Cove" cores with high-efficiency "Gracemont" cores, in a heterogenous multi-core setup comparable to Arm big.LITTLE. Next up, it is expected to debut the PCI-Express Gen 5 I/O, and DDR5 memory support. While PCIe 5.0 GPUs remain under development, the first devices to take advantage of it are expected to be NVMe SSDs, benefiting from 128 Gbps bandwidth (Gen 5 x4). It is also learned that the next-gen motherboards will retain the current ATX 24-pin + EPS power interface, and Intel won't force adoption of ATX12VO. The new ATX12VO standard increases motherboard costs as it essentially transfers DC-to-DC switching components from the PSU to the motherboard (12 V to 5 V; 12 V to 3.3 V, etc), and adds output connectors.

AMD Zen 4 and RDNA3 Confirmed for 2022, Zen3 Refresh

AMD CEO Dr Lisa Su, in the company's Q2-2021 financial results call, confirmed that the company is on-track to launch the Zen 4 CPU microarchitecture and RDNA3 graphics architecture, in 2022. Zen 4 would herald the first major desktop platform change since the original Zen architecture, with the introduction of a new CPU socket, and support for DDR5 memory. The RDNA3 graphics architecture, meanwhile, is expected to nearly triple SIMD resources over the previous generation, and introduce even more fixed-function hardware for raytracing.

In the meantime, AMD is preparing a counter to Intel's 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake-S" processor, in the form of Zen 3 with 3D Vertical Cache, which is also being referred to as the Zen 3+ architecture. These processors feature additional last-level cache, and the company claims a 15% gaming performance uplift, which should help it close the gaming performance gap with Intel, and win on sheer core-count of its big cores. It remains to be seen if Zen 3+ remains on Socket AM4 or if it debuts AM5, as AMD will be under pressure to match "Alder Lake" in platform I/O, which includes DDR5. Dr Su also confirmed that AMD has started shipping the Instinct MI200 "Aldebaran" compute accelerator based on the CDNA2 architecture. AMD's first MCM GPU with two logic dies, "Aldebaran" takes the fight to NVIDIA's top A100 series compute accelerators, and has already scored wins with ongoing HPC/supercomputing projects.

Further Steam Deck Pre-Orders to be Available Only From Q2 2022

To state that the Steam Deck made a splash when it was announced is an understatement - interest in the portable handheld console with its tight Steam integration is still going strong even after initial orders and the now ubiquitous scalping shenanigans, with eBay sellers looking for some $5,000 just for the end user to take their Steam Deck from their reservation queue place. Interest in the Steam handheld has been so immense, in fact, that it seems that shipping of all versions - even the entry-level one with 64 GB of eMMC storage - has slipped to Q2 2022.

When the handheld was first announced back on the 16th of July, initial shipments were expected to be sent out by the end of this year. However, Valve has now updated its estimated availability, bringing about a few more months of waiting for anyone just entering the queue - and possible 2023 slippings for further reservations. The "after 2Q 2022" is as vague as it comes as well - these units could be shipped in the first day of the quarter or face a delay until the release of the Steam Deck 4 (since Valve will skip the number 3, of course). We'll have to see whether there are any delays for already-confirmed pre-orders, but for now, it seems that if you've locked in an earlier delivery date, your order hasn't been affected.

Halo Infinite Multiplayer Beta Opening up This Weekend

If you're on the fence about whether or not Halo Infinite will be worth your time, you might just get your chance to find it out for yourself as early as this weekend. 343 Industries has announced the first of a series of technical flightings for the next chapter in the Halo universe, with users being called in an invite-basis to participate in and provide feedback on the multiplayer element of Halo infinite (which will be free to play when the game launches later this year). The gameplay focus is on team fights against bots (a first in the Halo universe) in big arena maps, plus a tutorial system called The Academy, which will feature missions for players to get into the groove of Halo's combat rhythms.

Tempered expectations are best when coming into any games' beta, and 343 Industries has informed players that the current build of the game being deployed for this flighting is some two to three months old compared to the games' current development stage - so there is some leeway to pardon their dust. If you want to get a taste of Halo's famed arena combat, you'll have to sign-up to the Halo Insider initiative, where you can choose the platform of choice for participation in the flighting program. If you choose PC as your platform, there are some other hoops to jump through; you'll have to send Microsoft a diagnostic of your system's DxDiag report, as well as connect your Steam account via the Halo Insider program. Meet you there, Spartan.

High-End Notebook Panels Projected to Surpass 20% Market Share in 2022 as Spotlight Falls on Oxide/LTPS/OLED Technologies, Says TrendForce

The massive rise in market demand for notebook computers in response to distance learning needs and WFH applications from 2020 to 2021 has generated not only a double-digit growth in notebook panel shipment, but also a price hike of more than 40% for notebook panels, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. As various suppliers subsequently scramble to manufacture OLED, LTPS, and oxide panels, TrendForce forecasts these high-end notebook panels to reach a 17.8% market share in 2021 and 21.4% in 2022.

Panels based on OLED technology are primarily supplied by SDC, whose OLED notebook panel shipment for 2020 reached 800,000 pcs. SDC is expected to ship more than four million pcs of OLED notebook panels in 2021, with room for further growth in 2022. In addition to SDC, EDO is also expected to begin mass producing OLED notebook panels in 2H21-1H22. As such, TrendForce expects OLED panels to reach a 1.3% penetration rate in the overall notebook panel market this year. Although BOE and CSOT are currently fully engaged in Hybrid OLED development, Hybrid OLED panels will not enter mass production until 2023 due to technological and cost-related bottlenecks that are yet to be resolved.

Facebook Pauses Sales of Oculus Quest 2 Over Skin Irritation

Facebook has recently announced they have paused global sales of the Oculus Quest 2 while they work to include a silicon cover to supplement the original foam face pad. The original foam cover caused skin irritation for select users so Facebook has launched a voluntary recall of the cover in the US and Canada while they work to ensure that all new products will ship with the updated silicon cover. Facebook has received 5,716 reports of skin irritation where 45 cases required medical attention from 4.2 million units shipped in the US and Canada. Facebook will also introduce a new 128 GB model when the Oculus Quest 2 resumes sales on August 24th which will replace the original 64 GB model at the same 300 USD price.

Dell Cannot Ship Select Alienware Aurora R10/R12 Systems to Several US States Due To New Power Regulations

Dell has stopped selling its Alienware Aurora R10/R12 systems to customers in six US states as they cannot meet the requirements of California's Energy Consumption Tier 2 implementation. These new energy efficiency regulations which became active on July 1st in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington limit the maximum kilowatt-hour usage of select devices. The maximum power usage allowed by this regulation for new desktop systems is calculated with a base limit and incorporates various additional allowances for discrete GPUs, high-speed memory, and certain storage mediums. Dell has confirmed that select versions of their Alienware Aurora R10/R12 systems cannot meet these requirements and as a result the effected models have been removed from sale for customers in these states.

QNAP Announces Expanded TS-hx77XU NAS Series

Following the release of 9 and 12-bay models of the TS-hx77XU QuTS hero NAS series, QNAP today extends the series lineup by introducing higher capacity 16-bay TS-h1677XU-RP and 24-bay TS-h2477XU-RP rackmount models. Designed for small/medium businesses, these new models feature AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-core processors, two 10 GbE ports, PCIe slots, and a redundant power supply to ensure continuous operations. Using the advanced ZFS-based QuTS hero operating system, both NAS deliver business-critical features and enable up to petabyte capacity per shared folder, providing a highly reliable yet cost-efficient NAS solution.

The TS-h1677XU-RP and TS-h2477XU-RP use the powerful AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8 cores/16 threads 3.6 GHz processor (Turbo Core 4.4 GHz), support AES-NI encryption acceleration and up to 128 GB DDR4 RAM for empowering multi-tasking capabilities and virtual machine performance. Both NAS models include two iSER-enabled 10 GbE SFP+ SmartNIC ports, which can work with SSD caching to boost IOPS performance and 10 GbE potential for optimizing business virtualization, large file sharing, high-speed backup/restoration, and multimedia editing/transfer. Connectivity can also be increased by installing various PCIe cards, including 10/25 GbE network cards for adding network I/O ports, QM2 cards for adding M.2 SSD slots, Fibre Channel cards for SAN storage, and QXP storage expansion cards for connecting storage expansion enclosures.
Tuesday, July 27th 2021

Today's Reviews

Audeze LCD-2 Classic (2021) Planar Magnetic Headphones Review

Audeze LCD-2 Classic (2021) Planar Magnetic Headphones Review

Audeze. The legendary LCD-2 re-imagined: Those utterances alone suffice to generate enough interest in the $800 planar magnetic bass-heavy LCD-2 Classic, which goes with a more eco-friendly construction and has amp-friendly power requirements as it aims to deliver a satisfying Audeze experience for well under a thousand bucks.
ROCCAT Kone Pro Review

ROCCAT Kone Pro Review

With the Kone Pro, ROCCAT expands their Kone line-up of right-handed ergonomic mice with an option between the big EMP and small Pure Ultra. Equipped with PixArt's PAW3370 sensor, optical switches for the main buttons, a flexible cable, and heat-treated pure PTFE feet, the Kone Pro is no slouch when it comes to specifications, either.

SMART Modular Technologies Announces New DDR5 Industrial Grade Modules

SMART Modular Technologies, Inc. ("SMART"), a SMART Global Holdings, Inc. company and a global leader in memory solutions, solid-state drives and hybrid storage products, announces the introduction of new DDR5 modules that feature enhanced endurance and stability for industrial applications. These new DRAM modules combine the advanced technology of DDR5 with SMART Modular's unique, rigorous test processes.

SMART applies its stringent testing processes to ensure reliable operation at industrial-grade temperatures (-40°C to +85°C). Customized SMART test programs and test flows combined with specialized burn-in equipment are used to screen out DRAM components that are likely to fail under temperature stress, resulting in modules that exhibit some of the lowest DPPM rates in the industry. SMART's industrial-grade modules are 100 percent system tested at high speeds, starting with a cold boot at -40°C and ramping to +85°C ambient operation. High-utilization customized testing software fully stresses all cells in the DRAM through the complete temperature cycle.

NZXT Expands its Streaming PC and H1 Mini PC Series of Prebuilt Gaming PCs

NZXT, a leading designer of computer hardware, software, and services for the PC gaming community, today announces that they are expanding their lines of streaming and H1 Mini PC's to include a Base, Plus, and Pro version of each system which allows for gamers and content creators to get a gaming PC that suits their budget and processing power needs, quickly shipped within two days.

The Streaming PC series is specifically designed to give streamers the proper hardware for an optimized experience right out of the box. The new Streaming PC Pro comes with a Ryzen 5 5600x and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 which gives streamers enough power to play their favorite games and stream their favorite games for $2999. While the Streaming PC and Streaming PC Plus offer different levels of GPUs for content creators for different needs and budgets.

Greenliant Samples Ultra-High Endurance Industrial SATA M.2 SSDs

Greenliant is now sampling SATA M.2 2242 ArmourDrive PX Series solid state drives (SSDs) that support 5K program-erase (P/E) cycles and advanced EX series SSDs with superior data retention and high endurance that support 60K, 120K and industry-leading 300K P/E cycles. SATA M.2 2242 ArmourDrive SSDs operate at industrial temperatures (-40 to +85 degrees Celsius) and are rigorously tested for shock and vibration to withstand the most extreme environments. See SATA M.2 ArmourDrive product information at http://bit.ly/SATA-M2-SSD.

Designed with Greenliant's EnduroSLC Technology, the new EX Series SSDs are available in 4 GB, 8 GB, 20 GB, 40 GB, 80 GB, 160 GB and 320 GB capacities, and are included in Greenliant's Long-Term Availability (LTA) program for 1-bit-per-cell (SLC) NAND based products (http://bit.ly/SSD-LTA-program). The new PX Series SSDs, available in 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB capacities, use 3-bit-per-cell (TLC) 3D NAND flash memory to provide cost-effective industrial storage.

Apple Reports Third Quarter Results

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2021 third quarter ended June 26, 2021. The Company posted a June quarter record revenue of $81.4 billion, up 36 percent year over year, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $1.30. "This quarter, our teams built on a period of unmatched innovation by sharing powerful new products with our users, at a time when using technology to connect people everywhere has never been more important," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "We're continuing to press forward in our work to infuse everything we make with the values that define us—by inspiring a new generation of developers to learn to code, moving closer to our 2030 environment goal, and engaging in the urgent work of building a more equitable future."

"Our record June quarter operating performance included new revenue records in each of our geographic segments, double-digit growth in each of our product categories, and a new all-time high for our installed base of active devices," said Luca Maestri, Apple's CFO. "We generated $21 billion of operating cash flow, returned nearly $29 billion to our shareholders during the quarter, and continued to make significant investments across our business to support our long-term growth plans."

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 21.7.2

AMD today released the latest version of Radeon Software Adrenalin drivers. Version 21.7.2 beta introduces optimization for "Chernobylite." It also adds support for two new Vulkan API extensions, including "VK_KHR_copy_commands2," and "VK_EXT_extended_dynamic_state2." Among the handful issues fixed include incorrect upgrade advice by the Game Compatibility advisor over certain CPUs and GPUs; a BSOD error noticed on certain mobile platforms when using Enhanced sign-in; "Resident Evil Village" experiencing application hang or driver crash on machines with Radeon VII; and an application crash with Radeon Software when upgrading with core isolation enabled.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 21.7.2

AMD Reports Second Quarter 2021 Financial Results, 99% Growth YoY

AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) today announced revenue for the second quarter of 2021 of $3.85 billion, operating income of $831 million, net income of $710 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.58. On a non-GAAP basis, operating income was $924 million, net income was $778 million and diluted earnings per share was $0.63.

"Our business performed exceptionally well in the second quarter as revenue and operating margin doubled and profitability more than tripled year-over-year," said AMD president and CEO Lisa Su. "We are growing significantly faster than the market with strong demand across all of our businesses. We now expect our 2021 annual revenue to grow by approximately 60 percent year-over-year driven by strong execution and increased customer preference for our leadership products."

AGON by AOC Unveils G3 Series 1000R Curved Gaming Monitors with 165Hz Refresh Rate

The world's number one gaming monitor and IT accessories brand AOC has rebranded its entire gaming segment to AGON by AOC. AGON by AOC will cover all gaming-related products in AOC's portfolio, from gaming monitors to gaming headsets, mechanical keyboards, gaming mice, mouse mats and more for gamers of all levels in three categories.

The very first models to be launched under the new name will be from the G3 series as part of the new AOC GAMING category. The five new G3 displays range from 27" (68.6 cm) to 32" (80 cm) to 34" (86.4 cm) diagonal, with all models boasting an aggressive 1000R curvature, a 165 Hz refresh rate as well as a sleek, 3-side borderless design. The curved G3 series will complement and improve upon (with higher refresh rates) but not replace the award-winning G2 series.

ViewSonic Releases Blur Busters Approved XG2431 240Hz Gaming Monitor

ViewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of display solutions, announces that the latest gaming monitor, the XG2431, has started shipping. The ultra-sleek 24" display is equipped with an IPS panel that deliver vibrant visuals with an ultra-fast 1 ms response. Approved by industry-renowned Blur Busters* for its motion blur reduction, it gives players the power to compete alongside the pros in the highest levels of First-Person Shooter (FPS), Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA), and Real-Time Strategy (RTS) genres.

With native Full HD 1080p resolution and 240 Hz refresh rate, professional gamers can gain an edge. The sleek borderless design and wide viewing angles ensure that the XG2431 is ideal for multi-display gaming setups with minimal frame distraction, making it perfect for gaming arenas and tournament play. The ViewSonic XG2431 features AMD FreeSync Premium technology, which synchronizes the output of the GPU graphics card and monitor to eliminate screen tearing and provide smoother frame rates. This 24-inch monitor features the perfect combination of speed, control and color. The super smooth 240 Hz refresh rate allows games to run at an ultra-fast framerate for superior performance, while the 1 ms response time ensures faster and more precise gameplay.

be quiet! Launches Dark Rock TF 2: High-end Cooling with Top-flow Design

be quiet!, the German manufacturer for premium PC components, is announcing Dark Rock TF 2. This high-end top-flow CPU cooler combines maximum cooling performance of up to 230 W TDP with virtually inaudible operation, thanks to its dual-heatsink design, six high-performance 6 mm heat pipes, and two Silent Wings 135 mm fans. Dark Rock TF 2 also looks the part with its brushed aluminium top cover and special black coating with ceramic particles, making it the ideal choice for all who strive for the highest yet quiet cooling performance in style.

For anyone looking for a true high-end cooler, Dark Rock TF 2 ticks all the right boxes. The dual-heatsink design with six high-performance copper heat pipes offers maximum performance even under extreme overclocking conditions and the top-flow design provides ideal cooling not only for the CPU but also for the surrounding motherboard components. Even so, Dark Rock TF 2 is virtually inaudible, thanks to a funnel-shaped Silent Wings 3 135 mm as the upper fan, and a Silent Wings 135 mm (without funnel-shaped entry) as the lower fan. Both fans are equipped with a durable fluid-dynamic bearing, smooth six-pole motors, and up to nine airflow-optimized fan blades, resulting in a low noise level of 27.1 dB(A) at 100% PWM speed. Anti-vibration rubber inserts on the heat sink fins further dampen unwanted operational sounds.

Alphacool Announces Eiswolf AIO CLC for Various NVIDIA RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 VGAs

Alphacool today presents the Eiswolf 2 "all-in-one" solution for NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080/3090 MSI Ventus & Asus ROG Strix graphics cards. As with all AIO models, we only use copper radiators except for the brass thread inserts. The Eiswolf 2 uses the Alphacool 360 mm NexXxoS ST30 all-copper radiator. For the fans, Alphacool is using the 120 mm Aurora Rise fans. The fans have a convincing static pressure of 3.17 mm/H₂O and offers a max. air flow of 119.8 m³/h, with a speed range of 0-2,500 RPM which can be controlled via PWM. The decision to use the 360 mm radiator in conjunction with our new fans provides a significant increase in cooling performance. The AIO is completed by the Eisblock Aurora water cooler, which actively cools all relevant components such as graphics memory and voltage converters in addition to the GPU chip.

All components used (radiator, fan, cooler, DC-LT 2 pump) including fittings and tubing are part of the Alphacool DIY range and are therefore available separately. This means that we don't only offer a simple AIO solution here, but a real custom water cooling system (pre-assembled & pre-filled). Only the casing for the DC-LT 2 pump is a custom design that is the only part of the scope of delivery of the AIO solution and therefore not available separately.

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT & RX 6600 Rumored Pricing Leaked

The AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT is expected to launch on August 11th while the RX 6600 appears set for a release in September/October. The pricing for these cards was predicted to be under 400 USD and according to a recent report from Neowin that would appear to be the case. The report claims that the Radeon RX 6600 XT will come with an MSRP of 349 USD and the Radeon RX 6600 at 299 USD. These prices have not been confirmed but if they are true it would position the RX 6600 XT above the RTX 3060 at 329 USD. The Radeon RX 6600 XT is expected to offer superior raster performance to the RTX 3060 but will come with less video memory and have worse raytracing. These prices are only suggestions and other sources put the retail price for the RX 6600 XT at 588 USD or higher in Europe.

AAEON Introduces BOXER-8230AI Edge Computer Powered by NVIDIA Jetson TX2 NX

AAEON, a leader in AI edge solutions, announces the release of the BOXER-8230AI AI Edge box PC powered by the NVIDIA Jetson TX2 NX System on Module (SOM). The BOXER-8230AI delivers powerful computing performance without breaking budgets, along with rugged design and diverse I/O layout including five Gigabit Ethernet ports. The BOXER-8230AI offers a solution that's perfect for intelligent applications including surveillance, smart factory, and smart retail.
The BOXER-8230AI platform brings flexibility to meet the needs of customers, with industrial design and storage capacity. With two available configurations, the BOXER-8230AI-A3 and BOXER-8230AI-A4 systems offer flexible I/O loadout with five Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports to connect with IP cameras and other devices, as well as four USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports and two COM ports. Storage flexibility is provided with 16 GB onboard eMMC storage, microSD slot and a 2.5" SATA III bay (A4 model).

The BOXER-8230AI platform is powered by the NVIDIA Jetson TX2 NX SOM, delivering powerful AI edge computing without compromising costs. The Jetson TX2 NX delivers more than twice the performance of the NVIDIA Jetson Nano thanks to its six-core ARM processor and NVIDIA Pascal GPU with 256 CUDA cores. This allows the Jetson TX2 NX to achieve speeds up to 1.33 TFLOPS, and enables the system to power a wide range of AI Edge applications.

Logitech Delivers Strong Start to Fiscal Year 2022

Logitech International (SIX: LOGN) (Nasdaq: LOGI) today announced financial results for the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2022. "We've started strong in Fiscal Year 2022, with Q1 sales up 58% in constant currency and profits doubling versus last year," said Bracken Darrell, Logitech president and chief executive officer. "Our key categories grew high double digits. This performance demonstrates the strength of our capabilities, excellent operational execution, and ability to capitalize on long-term trends, like gaming, streaming and creating, hybrid work and video everywhere."
  • Q1 sales were $1.31 billion, up 66 percent in US dollars and 58 percent in constant currency, compared to Q1 of the prior year.
  • Q1 GAAP operating income grew 143 percent to $203 million, compared to $83 million in the same quarter a year ago. Q1 GAAP earnings per share (EPS) grew 160 percent to $1.09, compared to $0.42 in the same quarter a year ago.
  • Q1 non-GAAP operating income grew 100 percent to $235 million, compared to $117 million in the same quarter a year ago. Q1 non-GAAP EPS grew 91 percent to $1.22, compared to $0.64 in the same quarter a year ago.

TSMC Looking to Build a Fab in Germany

TSMC, as part of its strategy to build cutting-edge semiconductor foundries in the US and EU, is looking to build a ground-up fab in Germany. The company's chairman, Mark Liu, made an announcement to this effect in the company's annual general meeting (AGM), addressing shareholders, held on July 26. This move is still in its "early stages," according to a DigiTimes report, with the company prospecting a suitable site across the country. The size and scale of TSMC's investment remains under the wraps.

TSMC's expedition to Germany aligns with an ambitious plan by the European Commission to make the EU a net-exporter of semiconductors and electronics by 2030. TSMC will have Intel Foundry Services for company in Germany, as an acquisition of Global Foundries would put Intel in control of its real-estate in Dresden. Intel is still prospecting the EU for a suitable place to invest €20 billion, besides ongoing investments in states such as the Republic of Ireland.

Samsung Announces Odyssey Neo G9 Gaming Monitor

Samsung Electronics, today announced the global launch of its next-generation curved gaming monitor, the Odyssey Neo G9, enhanced with Quantum Mini LED technology. The Odyssey Neo G9 joins the Odyssey lineup, taking gaming to the next level with Quantum Matrix technology, supported by Quantum Mini LED display and Quantum HDR 2000 for an immersive gaming experience.

With the previous launch of the Odyssey G9 in 2020, Samsung pushed the boundaries of premium gaming monitors with smooth and brilliant picture quality. Now with the industry's first Quantum Mini LED curved display delivering the most refined detail regardless of the game played, the Odyssey Neo G9 is catapulting the gaming monitor category forward. Featuring Quantum Matrix Technology combined with super-fast response and refresh rates, Odyssey Neo G9 delivers an unrivaled dynamic picture and premium performance for all gamers.

Team Group Signs Agreement with SYNNEX to Provide Gaming Memory Solutions in North America

Global memory leader TEAMGROUP today announces its distribution agreement with SYNNEX Corporation, a leading provider of distribution, systems design and integration services for the technology industry, to expand its reach through SYNNEX resellers in North America. TEAMGROUP's SSDs, as well as memory solutions from TEAMGROUP's T-FORCE brand, a line dedicated to gaming, will be available immediately to partners.

For years, TEAMGROUP has established a strong presence in North America. Starting with extensive development in EC channels since 2015, TEAMGROUP has secured a leading place in gaming and SI markets as the global trend of e-sports first emerged. In recent years, TEAMGROUP's revenue and sales in B2B markets have had annual growths of over 50% on average, and the company has been expanding its presence in B2B and B2C markets. With the prevalence of working remotely and online learning, TEAMGROUP's sales performance in the North American area has been taken to new heights. This agreement between TEAMGROUP and SYNNEX begins with gaming memory solutions from TEAMGROUP's T-FORCE, the gaming brand well-loved among gamers all over the world, as well as TEAM SSDs, a top choice for computer upgrades.

Intel Rebadges 10nm Enhanced SuperFin Node as "Intel 7," Invents Other Creative Node Names

Intel, in a move comparable to its competitors' Performance Rating system from the 1990s, has invented a new naming scheme for its in-house foundry nodes to claim technological parity with contemporaries such as TSMC and Samsung, that are well into the sub-10 nm class. Back in the i586 era, when Intel's competitors such as AMD and Cyrix, couldn't keep up with its clock-speeds yet found their chips to be somewhat competitive, they invented the PR (processor rating) system, with a logical number attempting to denote parity with an Intel processor's clock-speed. For example, a PR400 processor rating meant that the chip rivaled a Pentium II 400 MHz (which it mostly didn't). The last that the PR system made sense was with the final generation of single-core performance chips, Pentium 4 and Athlon XP, beyond which, the introduction of multi-core obfuscated the PR system. A Phenom X4 9600 processor didn't mean performance on par with a rival Intel chip running at an impossible 9.60 GHz.

Intel's new foundry naming system sees its 10 nm Enhanced SuperFin node re-badge as "Intel 7." The company currently builds 11th Gen Core "Tiger Lake" processors on the 10 nm SuperFin node, and is expected to build its upcoming 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake" chips on its refinement, the 10 nm Enhanced SuperFin, which will now be referred to as "Intel 7." The company is careful to avoid using the nanometer unit next to the number, instead signaling the consumer that the node somehow offers transistor density and power characteristics comparable to a 7 nm node. Intel 7 offers a 10-15 percent performance/Watt gain over 10 nm SuperFin, and is already in volume production, with a debut within 2021 with "Alder Lake."

Intel Accelerates Packaging and Process Innovations

Intel Corporation today revealed one of the most detailed process and packaging technology roadmaps the company has ever provided, showcasing a series of foundational innovations that will power products through 2025 and beyond. In addition to announcing RibbonFET, its first new transistor architecture in more than a decade, and PowerVia, an industry-first new backside power delivery method, the company highlighted its planned swift adoption of next-generation extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV), referred to as High Numerical Aperture (High NA) EUV. Intel is positioned to receive the first High NA EUV production tool in the industry.

"Building on Intel's unquestioned leadership in advanced packaging, we are accelerating our innovation roadmap to ensure we are on a clear path to process performance leadership by 2025," Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said during the global "Intel Accelerated" webcast. "We are leveraging our unparalleled pipeline of innovation to deliver technology advances from the transistor up to the system level. Until the periodic table is exhausted, we will be relentless in our pursuit of Moore's Law and our path to innovate with the magic of silicon."
Monday, July 26th 2021

Today's Reviews

FSP Dagger Pro 850W Review - Tiny Power Plant

FSP Dagger Pro 850W Review - Tiny Power Plant

The FSP Dagger Pro 850 is one of the strongest SFX PSUs available today. It uses quality components, including a double ball bearing fan and Japanese electrolytic caps from good lines, and promises high performance. It costs a lot, especially in the US, but the smaller and stronger the PSU, the higher its price tag.
SilverStone FARA V1M PRO Review

SilverStone FARA V1M PRO Review

The Fara V1M Pro is a Micro-ATX enclosure that looks vastly different from most others in the line. With its clean exterior and embedded ARGB elements in the front, one could say it is among the better-looking ones of the bunch, so let's find out what's behind this cool design.

SK hynix Reports Second Quarter 2021 Results

SK hynix Inc. today announced financial results for its second quarter 2021 ended on June 30, 2021. The consolidated revenue of the second quarter 2021 was 10.322 trillion won, while the operating profit amounted to 2.695 trillion won and the net income 1.988 trillion won. Operating margin for the quarter was 26% and net margin was 19%.

It was the first time in three years that SK hynix recorded the quarterly revenue of more than 10 trillion won as the memory market condition, which began to recover earlier this year, continued to improve in the second quarter. The company last logged more than 10 trillion won in the third quarter of 2018 when the memory market was booming.

OWC Introduces Envoy Pro SX Thunderbolt Bus-Powered Portable SSD

OWC, the premier zero-emissions Mac and PC technology company, and a respected provider of Memory, External Drives, SSDs, Mac & PC docking solutions, and performance upgrade kits announces the new OWC Envoy Pro SX, the Thunderbolt portable SSD that can withstand any condition. The mild-mannered exterior of the OWC Envoy Pro SX hides its true nature. It's super-fast. Super-versatile. Super-portable. And rugged enough to endure the most challenging work and play settings.

This little beast of an SSD handles all data storage and backup challenges like a real superhero when put to the test. The OWC Envoy Pro SX is versatile enough to be used as a bus-powered drive for daily storage and backup tasks. It can handle workflows easily handle the speed demands of production-level audio, design, and photography workflows. And it serves up real-world performance speeds up to 2847 MB/s with modern Thunderbolt and USB 4 equipped Macs and PCs. Built along the OWC Envoy Pro EX's award-winning lineage, this tiny but mighty ½ pound portable drive is 1/3 smaller. It features a removable Thunderbolt cable and is test certified to handle the nastiest environments. From managing obstacles in the field to crushing deadlines at home, the OWC Envoy Pro SX lets you unleash your productivity power without needing a cape or mask.

AOC to Take the AGON Brand Beyond Gaming Monitors, Make Peripherals

AOC, the world's number one gaming monitor and IT accessories brand, announces the launch of its new umbrella brand AGON by AOC. The new brand will consolidate AOC's existing gaming monitors and accessories line-ups and extend their portfolio for casual gamers, competitive gamers and ambitious esports players, with new models.

Stefan Sommer, Head of Global Marketing at AOC: "The gaming industry and the esports sector in particular belong to the fastest growing technology markets - and the most exciting ones for sure. We are more than proud to share our new brand concept and vision with this unique community. AGON by AOC will surely raise the bar when it comes to gaming ecosystems - and elevate the game of many more gamers around the world."

Next-Gen AMD Radeon RDNA3 Flagship To Feature 15,360 Stream Processors?

AMD's next generation RDNA3 graphics architecture generation could see a near-quadrupling in raw SIMD muscle over the current RDNA2, according to a spectacular rumor. Apparently, the company will deploy as many as 15,360 stream processors (quadruple that of a Radeon RX 6800), and spread across 60 WGPs (Workgroup Processors), and do away with the compute unit. This is possibly because the RDNA3 compute unit won't be as independent as the ones on the original RDNA or even RDNA2, which begins to see groups of two CUs share common resources.

Another set of rumors suggest that AMD won't play NVIDIA's game of designing GPUs with wide memory bus widths, and instead build on its Infinity Cache technology, by increasing the on-die cache size and bandwidth, while retaining "affordable" discrete memory bus widths, such as 256-bit. As for the chip itself, it's rumored that the top RDNA3 part, the so-called "Navi 31," could feature a multi-chip module design (at least two logic dies), each with 30 WGPs. Each of the two is expected to be built on a next-gen silicon fabrication node that's either TSMC N5 (5 nm), or a special 6 nm node TSMC is designing for AMD. Much like the next-generation "Lovelace" architecture by NVIDIA, AMD's RDNA3 could see the light of the day only in 2022.

Akasa Intros the 16 mm-tall KS7 Ultra Low-Profile CPU Cooler

Akasa today introduced the KS7, an extremely compact CPU fan-heatsink for builds where thickness standards begin to rival portable desktops. With a today height (fan+heatsink) of just 16 mm, the KS7 is designed for Sockets LGA1200 and LGA115x, and its designers claim that the cooler can keep a 35 W TDP processor, such as the Core i9-10900T, afloat. It's design is straightforward: an aluminium mono-block heatsink has a 64 mm fan nestled within, and exhausts radially. The fan takes in 4-pin PWM input, spins between 2,200 to 4,000 RPM, pushing up to 24.61 CFM of airflow at 3.76 mm H₂O static pressure. At top speed, its noise output is rated at 32.8 dBA. Its EBR bearing is rated for 40,000 hours lifespan. measuring 85 mm x 85 mm x 16 mm, the cooler weighs about 105 g. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Asgard Announces AN4 PCIe 4.0 SSD - 128 Layer 3D TLC NAND, 7,500 MB/s Read

Chinese manufacturer Asgard has announced the company's (and the Chinese market's) first PCIe 4.0 SSD. The AN4 pairs 128 Layer 3D TLC NAND manufactured by YMTC (Yangtze Memory Technologies Co., Ltd) Xtacking 2.0 technology, which uses a two-step manufacturing process wherein both NAND cells and interconnects are manufactured in two separate wafers and then optically fused. The NAND memory is then paired with Innogrit's IG5236 Rainier controller. The AN4 is rated for 7,500 MB/s and 5,500 MB/s sequential read and write speeds and features a "high" TBW endurance rating, though Asgard didn't clarify the exact random performance figures, nor the TBW rating for the SSD. Pricing is similarly up in the air - Asgard has only announced market availability for the 1 TB SSD solution come August, with additional 2 TB and 512 GB capacities being readied to market for a later timeframe.

The manufacturing technology of YMTC results in NAND that's as fast as Micron's latest 192-layer NAND tech, and beats well-established Kioxia's 96-layer technology performance-wise. One Bilibili forum user put the drive through its paces, and discovered that to unlock its full potential, one has to have a system capable of 512 bit maximum payload size (MPS), which is currently only supported by AMD motherboards - maximum Intel MPS currently stands at 256 bit, which "only" enables sequential performance of up to 7,150 MB/s. The user put the AN4 through a variety of tests, including PCMark 10's Drive Performance Consistency Test - a 10 to 20 hours workload marathon that puts more than 23 TB of drives on the SSD. It seems that Chinese manufacturers have achieved parity with the top western manufacturers, meaning there is one more option in the global, high-performance NAND market.

NVIDIA-ARM Acquisition Facing Delays, Still Pending Regulatory Approvals

The NVIDIA acquisition of ARM from the clutches of Softbank (for a cool, $40 billion) is increasingly looking stretched towards the future. When the acquisition deal was first announced back in September 14th, 2020, NVIDIA announced it expected the business to be closed within an 18-month timeframe, which would place it towards March 2022. However, that objective may prove to have been set too aggressively; we're now in July, and NVIDIA still hasn't received any sort of regulatory approval towards its embattled, and mostly negatively received, plans for the acquisition of ARM.

Particularly here is NVIDIA's submission of the acquisition deal towards the European Commission - which still hasn't happened. Seeking regulatory approval on acquisitions usually is a bureaucratic minefield; even more so when we're talking about tech industry giants such as NVIDIA and ARM and the possibility of market monopolization. It's expected that any regulatory appraisal of the acquisition will take upwards of six months, considering the scope, scale, and legal hurdles involved, and with the European Commission's summer holidays starting today, NVIDIA will now only be able to submit acquisition documentation come September. That gives the European Commission only six months to evaluate an acquisition of this magnitude if NVIDIA were to complete the deal in its announced timeframe; regulators, however, usually aren't too interested in bending over backwards to accelerate timeframes just because of a company's interest, even if that company is NVIDIA. Should the acquisition go wayside or be delayed far too long for ARM's interests, the company is expected to opt for an IPO so as to raise investment.

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT Could See July 30 Unveil at ChinaJoy

On the road to its rumored August market availability, AMD could unveil its Radeon RX 6600 XT graphics card on July 30, at the ChinaJoy expo. The RX 6600 XT is a middle-of-the-market product that AMD likely expects to sell in heaps, in markets such as China. It competes with NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 3060 series. According to VideoCardz, the RX 6600 XT could see a July 30 unveiling, which usually comes with some teasers as to what buyers can expect from the card; followed by an August 6 unboxing embargo. The card launches on August 11. The RX 6600 (non-XT) is expected to launch later, in September. The RX 6600 XT is based on the 7 nm "Navi 23" silicon, and is rumored to feature 2,048 stream processors across 32 RDNA2 compute units. It also comes with 8 GB of GDDR6 memory across a 128-bit wide memory bus, and 32 MB of on-die Infinity Cache memory. AMD is likely targeting the 1080p AAA and 1440p e-sports crowds with this card.

Intel Now Producing More 10 Nanometer Wafers Than 14 Nanometer Wafers

Intel has recently confirmed during a recent earnings call that it is now manufacturing more 10 nm wafers than 14 nm wafers as part of its IDM 2.0 plan. This news comes four years after Intel first started shipping 10 nm products to customers however the production capacity did not exist to launch any mainstream desktop processors. Intel launched a few low-power mobile Ice Lake processors in 2019 but their 2021 flagship 11th Generation Rocket lake processors remained on 14 nm. This looks set to change as Intel highlights reduced production costs and prepares to launch 10 nm 12th Generation Alder Lake processors in Q4 2021. Intel will offer more details on their future manufacturing plans during their upcoming Intel Accelerated event.
Intel CEOUnder IDM 2.0, our factory network continues to deliver and we are now manufacturing more 10-nanometer wafers than 14-nanometer. As 10-nanometer volumes ramp, economics are improving with 10-nanometer wafer cost 45% lower year-over-year with more to come.

NVIDIA "Ada Lovelace" Architecture Designed for N5, GeForce Returns to TSMC

NVIDIA's upcoming "Ada Lovelace" architecture, both for compute and graphics, is reportedly being designed for the 5 nanometer silicon fabrication node by TSMC. This marks NVIDIA's return to the Taiwanese foundry after its brief excursion to Samsung, with the 8 nm "Ampere" graphics architecture. "Ampere" compute dies continue to be built on TSMC 7 nm nodes. NVIDIA is looking to double the compute performance on its next-generation GPUs, with throughput approaching 70 TFLOP/s, from a numeric near-doubling in CUDA cores, generation-over-generation. These will also be run at clock speeds above 2 GHz. One can expect "Ada Lovelace" only by 2022, as TSMC N5 matures.
Sunday, July 25th 2021

EVGA Begins Replacing GeForce RTX 3090 Cards Bricked by New World, Problem Not Localized to RTX 3090

In case you missed it, the closed beta of Amazon's upcoming MMO, "New World," has been found bricking (rendering useless) certain GeForce RTX 3090 graphics cards; ones that are supposed to be mighty powerful for a fairly average-looking game, visually. EVGA has come forward to announce that RTX 3090 cards bricked by the MMO are fully covered under the product warranty, and eligible for replacement. Hot Hardware reports that EVGA has been honoring RMA and warranty claims from its RTX 3090 product owners.

Meanwhile, JayzTwoCents tweeted that the problem with New World may not be localized to the RTX 3090, with graphics card owners across a multitude of GPUs, including from the GeForce RTX 30-series, Radeon RX 6000 series, and even RX 500 "Polaris," reporting shut-downs and failures when running the game. On its part, Amazon's game studio said that it is working on a patch that fixes the game. The company is free from liability, as this is a closed beta, and everyone who installs these agree to a license that absolves the developer of liability from damage to property resulting from its use.
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